Did well last year with a breakaway, and a solo breakaway won the race, but the field is twice as big this year with two teams with big representation, Davis(8?) and Pegasus(5?), and there will be seven primes in fourteen laps.
The first five minutes of most crits seem to hurt no matter what, so when I find myself on second wheel on the first lap and no one wants to pull, decide to dig a little and see what happens and suffer on the front instead of the back. Not sure if Davis or Pegasus are planning on attacking all race or trying to set up a leadout train so we'll see if they send anybody or just pull me back.
Have about two block lead after the descent, and when I go through the start/finish, the bell is rung for prime. Now folks are interested in chasing but I get to practice full speed through almost a full lap and am caught before the last turn. Fade to the back of the pack over the course of the next eight laps. The amount of braking sucks from this position, especially in the dogleg turn. The tradeoff is the climb is easy because people break the wind for you on the flatter section and you can thread through the stragglers and work up through half the field.
I hear Curt Ferguson telling me to move up every lap. My first thought is I'm going to kill him. But I know most races are actually not that hard when I am wheelsucking like this and force myself to move up and start moving up and not relinquishing position. One time on the climb there is eighteen inches between me and the right curb and someone calls inside and we knock handlebars for a while, but I forget about it and try to accelerate away from him. With two to go the Davis train forms with three riders. With one to go, Pegasus moves to the front alongside Davis. It seems oddly slow, so when we go through the grind up the hill for the last time, I attack from fifth wheel. I look under my shoulder and no one reacts so I dig a bit deeper and try to get as big a gap as possible on the hill and take the last two turns without braking. Thought I would have been passed by this front stretch but no, and I get to the chicane with fifty meters to go, it hurts, but hear one of the leadout guys yell "go, go, go" to his teammate so I sprint with whatever I have left and make it to the first painted line I see but there are three lines five meters apart and the last one is the finish, and one guy passes me convincingly, with a one bike length gap at the finish, then a second person edges me out for second with a bike throw at the real line. Same as San Ardo 2006...